Matthew Munson: Christmas is here, ho ho ho

Bryan and Matthew at the Marlowe panto

Well, there you have it. Christmas is here; ho, ho, ho, and all that jazz. As you might imagine, Christmas has been a regular point of discussion in our home for the past month or two. I am entirely unfazed by that, as it’s one of my son’s favourite celebrations, and I enjoy seeing him happy and excited.

We’ve had visitors this weekend – his siblings came to visit, which was absolutely lovely, and they were totally welcome. I cherished them having some quality time together, and it was lovely to see them just being together. These precious moments are valuable and important, and I hope they look back with pleasure and fondness at them.

We’re also visiting friends just round the corner on Christmas Eve – it’s something of a tradition that a couple of friends put on a party every year that we all appreciate. That’ll be a nice couple of hours before we come home, settle in, and wait for Santa to ring in the Day itself. I am well aware that it’s going to be an early morning; given that I’ve had a slightly odd sleeping pattern recently, it probably won’t bother me too much … but I’m 42 now, so an afternoon nap is entirely acceptable and probably necessary. Last year, I dragged myself to bed at some god-forsaken time of the morning while Bryan got started on some Lego. It could well be a similar situation this year …

I have to give a lot of credit to the Marlowe Theatre panto, which we went to earlier this week. It’s become an annual tradition for the two of us, and I get genuinely excited. We have a routine on the day, including lunch and a visit to the Beaney Museum and Library. I half-jokingly suggested that we continued doing our tradition well into Bryan’s 20s and, to my delight, he agreed. If he sticks to that, then that’ll be a highlight of my year; we both thoroughly enjoy it right now.

Christmas Day will be spent with my mum and dad, with my mum doing the lunch and more presents (particularly – and rightly – for Bryan). Bryan loves our Christmas family traditions; they’re simple and fun, and that’s the sort of Christmas we prefer. We don’t need big and fancy days; keeping it simple allows us to just relax and live in the moment.

I remember spending time with my own grandparents as a child. I’d sadly lost both of my maternal grandparents by the time I was 11, and my paternal grandparents hosted a family get-together every Christmas. It was daft, silly, and lots of fun. I adored all of my grandparents and have such fond memories of their love for their entire family (even when my paternal grandmother got regularly confused with the family’s names; I became used to her cycling through my cousins’ names – both male and female – before she reached mine. I ended up answering to whatever name came out of her mouth when she looked at me, and I loved her for it). Bryan has the same love and affection for his grandparents, and I know he will always keep the memories of love and kindness in his heart as he grows up.

I consider myself very lucky to be a dad. It’s been the biggest privilege of my life to parent a child – a young man – like Bryan. I don’t pretend that it’s always easy, and that I never get things wrong (it’s not always easy, and I do get things wrong sometimes), but it’s the best decision I have ever taken. I don’t recall the precise moment when I actively decided to become a parent. I think it was more of a gradual process over time, and now I couldn’t imagine my life being any different. I know there will come a time when Bryan spreads his wings, taking lots of steps on the way. When that day comes, I will still remain a dad; being a part of my son’s life will always be a priority, but maybe it’ll help me spread my own wings to new pastures and opportunities as well. But being a dad will always be Priority Number One, and it is a wonderful priority to have.

Happy Christmas from me and Bryan.


  1. Merry Christmas to both. I read your comments weekly, can see easily that you are made for each other. Congratulations to you both.

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